“Admit it. You voted for Donald Trump. I know you did.”
These were the first words Colton heard as he woke up. Angelique was pointing a .45 caliber handgun at his face.
“Wait. What? What are you talking about?”
Angelique and Colton lived in a four bedroom flat on the second floor of a building in San Francisco’s Richmond District along with two other “flatmates.” The election was a week ago. It seemed like the City, Oakland, and several other Bay Area communities, along with major population centers across America, were burning figuratively and literally with hate and fear over a Donald Trump win and what everyone thought it would mean.
“God damn you, Colton, how could you? I thought we were friends.”
Colton’s head had cleared thanks to the sight of the firearm pointing at him from less than three feet away. “What the hell are you doing with that thing, Ang?”
He thought she hated guns. It was illegal for a private citizen to own a handgun in San Francisco anyway. Where did she get it and why was she threatening to use it?
“Fuck you, Colt. You bastard. You know what that man stands for. You know what he’ll do to me, my partner, everyone who is LGBT. Why did you vote to hurt me?”
Colton didn’t make it common knowledge that he was more conservative than his friends and co-workers. In a place like San Francisco, that can get you alienated quick, especially if you work in the technology industry, and Colt was a programmer for a major developer of mobile apps.
“Wh-what makes you think I voted for Trump?” Colton was playing for time and hoping Angelique would run out of steam and put the gun down.
“You talk in your sleep, scumbag. What do you think? You told Miles, Miles told Shanna, and Shanna told me.”
Colton trusted Miles because he didn’t personalize conflict or differences and could normally keep his mouth shut. They worked together in the same company, but Miles was also friends with Shanna, Angelique’s partner, apparently close friends. If Colton lived through this, he’d have to tell Miles what a traitorous slime ball he was for ratting him out.
“Look, Ang.” Colton was half sitting up in bed now and holding his hands palms facing his would-be killer. “I wasn’t voting for Trump, I was voting against Clinton. You know how connected she is to the Wall Street one percent, especially Soros. Do you really think…?”
“You voted for Trump in spite of the fact that he ran on a sexist, racist, and homophobic platform. It didn’t bother you a bit that his becoming President would result in so much pain for so many, did it? It didn’t bother you that it would rip me apart, did it?”
“Ang, you know how I feel about the LGBT community. I’ve gone to Gay Pride parades, I’ve…”
“I don’t give a fuck what parades you’ve gone to! You’ve just elected the worst enemy we could ever have!” She was screaming and trembling. Colton was afraid she’d shoot him by accident.
“You need to apologize, Colt.” Angelique was starting to compose herself.
“I’m…I’m sorry, Ang. I really am. I…”
“Words are cheap. You need to prove it.” Now her voice was as cold as the gun she held.
“How?” Colton was hoping to escape with his skin intact and then call the cops the first chance he got.
“With money. I know how much you make and what you spend it on. Hell, we’ve lived in this flat together for four years, you bastard. You’re going to literally pay.”
“Pay who, you?” Colton was starting to get indignant, in spite of the fact that death was only a pull of the trigger away.
“No, asshole. You’re going to start donating and donating big. Places like the ACLU and the Southern Poverty Law Center. I’ve got a whole list of places you can give to, and I want proof which of them you donated to and how much.”
“What?” Colton’s arms felt as heavy as lead, and in spite of himself and the danger he was in, he lowered them.
“You heard me. You’ll also have to go public. Admit that you’re a Trump voter, that you regret it, and denounce your fellow traitors to humanity. If you really meant it when you said you loved me, loved the LGBT community, and that you didn’t mean to hurt us, you’ll pay. You’ll still have a long road to travel, but this will start the healing.”
“You want me to what?” Colton still couldn’t believe that forgiveness could be bought with cold, hard cash.
“I can tell what you’re thinking, Colt. None of this means I forgive you and that we’re cool or anything. But I will acknowledge what you did and let it be. I will still judge you and always consider you an asshole.”
“If I don’t, you’re going to shoot me?”
“Don’t be stupid. This isn’t even a real gun. I borrowed it from Marty. You’ve met him before. He’s the property manager for that little community theatre on 36th and Anza. He’s gay by the way, just in case you might care.”
She lowered the gun.
“Even through it felt like you killed me, I’d never actually hurt you. That’s the difference between us, Colt. I’d never hurt you, especially the way you hurt me.”
Angelique walked out of Colt’s bedroom, went back to her own, crawled into bed and started crying again.
Colt looked at the clock. 5:02 a.m. Tuesday. He silently got ready for work, left the flat and never went back.
He sent movers to pack up his things and store them until he could find another place to live. He didn’t call the police on Angelique. He wasn’t even sure it was illegal to pretend to threaten someone’s life with a prop gun.
Colton wanted to tell Angelique why he voted for Trump, but he knew she’d never care and probably wouldn’t consider any reason for doing so justifiable. Everyone knew Colton was Jewish but he told few people that he was pro-Israel. His grandparents made Aliyah and retired to Haifa. He had cousins who lived in Tel Aviv, and he had attended Yeshiva over the summer two years ago in Jerusalem.
For the past eight years, President Obama had been doing everything in his power to throw Israel under a bus including the Iran Nuke Deal. Colton had no doubt Hillary Clinton would spend her Presidency doing the same.
He couldn’t let that happen, so he did the unthinkable and voted for one of the most boorish people on the planet. He was sure of one thing however. The man who said he might even move the U.S. Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, the ancient and modern capital of the Jewish state, would be a lot better ally to Israel than Clinton would ever have been.
Angelique had done him a favor. Colton Jacob Katz made Aliyah to Israel six months later.
Someone who I follow on twitter retweeted a link to this blog post recently. I read it and was ready to dismiss it when it occurred to me that there was more to the story here. Of course I know there’s more to the story, but a lot of people don’t think so.
I know this won’t help. I know that believing Trump was the only one of the two major contenders who would protect Israel against Jewish genocide won’t be enough for his detractors and those who authentically fear him and what he’ll do with four years in the White House.
But I have to tell that other story because it exists and it is real.
We all voted out of fear. We all voted at virtual gunpoint. After all, who in their right mind would believe that either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump were really the two best choices for the Office of the President?
America needs a do-over with better options, but we’re not going to get it. We’ll just have to deal with a Trump Presidency for the next four years and hope in 2020, someone sane and moral will want to be the President.
Addendum: You might want to read the brilliantly written blog post Profile of a Trump Supporter for more insight into these issues. There’s a lot more going on behind the scenes than you’ll hear about in popular news and social media.